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Grandma Dot

by davesandel on March 9th, 2023

Thursday March 9, 2023

(click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Grandma Dot

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. She will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

Margaret flew into Evansville last night, got there just before midnight, and Heather picked her up from the airport. Sweet girl, Heather, Margaret’s niece and friend for all these many years. Heather and Rob’s children Michael, Morgan and Matthew are the apples of their eye. Morgan is still in high school, plays the baritone sax like a pro, and always has a twinkle waiting just behind her smile.

But these days are difficult for Heather’s mom Kay, who lives in a small house with Margaret’s and her own mom Dorothy. Grandma Dot was 99 on December 27 last year, and not too long after her birthday she went into home hospice care. They brought in a hospital bed and installed it in the living room, to make things a bit easier for Kay and the hospice volunteers.

So we’re looking forward to our visit, as always, but with a supple set of expectations. We have no idea, really. But being there to help even for just a few days – well, of course. That’s just what you do.

My mom Grandma Angie also made it to 99. And she nearly made it to home hospice; the hospice registrar was headed to Mom’s house the morning she suddenly died eighteen months ago. And our brother in law Jim’s mom, who died just a few weeks ago, also almost made it into hospice. Both of them would have been blessed by those amazing helpers, as is Dorothy now, day by day. How much have we learned from these mamas, to guide us and bless us in our own years?

Just out of her teens, Dorothy left Kentucky and spent a year or two in Chicago at the converted Schwinn Bicycle Factory making parts for guns and planes in World War II. She has a green thumb, and her elephant ears and roses have graced her life forever. After Margaret’s dad died she bought a new baby blue blue Ford pickup truck to ride around in with her girls. She was strong, she was invincible, she was woman!

I’ll be arriving in Evansville today. Dorothy and I have had a relationship like others she has had with other friendly guys. She loves to tell stories, and she loves to flirt, just a little. She also has a twinkle in her eye. Or at least she always has.

But there is never any point in putting bandages of denial or protest on whatever happens next, as we age and age and age. An Orthodox writer named Chryssavgis writes about this, what he calls the desert:

You do not have to find the desert in your life; it normally catches up with you. Everyone goes through the desert…. It may be in the form of some suffering, or emptiness, or  breakdown, or breakup, or divorce, or any kind of trauma that occurs in our life. Dressing this desert up through our addictions or attachments will delay the utter loneliness and the inner fearfulness of the desert experience, but if we go through this experience involuntarily, it can be both overwhelming and crushing. If, however, we accept its necessity, it can prove both constructive and liberating.

For many decades Dorothy has read the Bible, and books by Charles Stanley to inspire her. She also has sent us cards, often, and not only us but our kids too, sending her love. It doesn’t need to be a birthday. She has told us how she prays for us every day. It’s been hard for her to get to church, but one special gentleman has taken it upon himself to visit her often.

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

So. Our visit will be different. Dorothy will be the same, at least inside, having learned the art of loving from God. She is precious in his sight.

And ours too.

The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.

 (Jeremiah 17, Psalm 1, Luke 8, Luke 16)

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